Thursday, December 10, 2009

the hot middle

The storm took out my hollow's electricity last night. It also created a sheet of ice on my little private road that has just taken my truck hostage. Coming home from visiting neighbors, I started up my hill and it spun its tires till it (and I) gave up. My orange truck is currently fighting off the wailing wind, left where it was stuck a hundred yards from my cabin. In the morning my neighbor Roy (I hope) will rescue it with his big tractor. In my defense, I tried to get it unstuck for half an hour before chalking it up as a loss. Lesson 32,784 learned: the 2WD Ranger is a three season work horse.

The last two days have been focused on Finn. I brought him to work with me yesterday in hopes I could deliver him to his foster home on my lunch break. In preparation I turned the entire back section of the station wagon into a small barn stall. While the storm raged outside my goat lay quietly in his small den of hay, chewing cud and watching the storm from his warm front-row seat. Every so often I'd walk out to check on him, give him water or walk him on lead to stretch his legs, but he seemed to have other plans. Every time I came out to walk him he'd leap back inside and curl up in his nest. I didn't fight it. I'd wrap my scarf around my neck, dig my chin into my chest, and shiver and walk back inside myself. (I think Finn had the right idea there...)

When I got back inside I emailed his foster home, trying to make plans for the drop off. After a few back-and-forths both Abi and I agreed risking death to deliver livestock in a blizzard was a bad idea. So our plans were postponed till today. I won one last night with my goat.

When the work day was over the storm had passed and the temperature rose to nearly 40 degrees. The office parking lot was shining under the street lights, and not a single person was around when I returned to my car. I opened the hatch and watched him yawn and stand up. I snapped the lead to his collar. Together we walked in the perfect stillness of the corporate blacktop. A girl and her goat, in the glow of a street lamp, walking side by side in a weird place. This lasted moments but will stick with me the rest of my life: these days when the farm and my job melted into beautiful gasps of saturated instances like this. I wanted someone to see us, because it must have looked comical, then realized it was better alone. That was for him and me and it wasn't funny at all. It was goodbye.

When we got back to the cabin I let him leap out the back of the station wagon and knew the next time I would let him leap out of my car, it would be when I was bringing him to my new farmhouse. That sliver of my future was barely tasted, but understood. I have learned the subtle divinations a small farm grants us, not in tea leaves or tarot cards, but in the split second a goat jumps from the back of a beat up car. The whole world's in there I think—between the hairs and flash of black horn.

Finn went away today. He's in the loving and capable hands of Abi and Greg and their three children. I took him there on my lunch and let him run around the enclosure with two suspicious pacas. I could only stay a few moments, but that was best. When we started to leave the yard and Finn ran after me to follow me inside. My heart cracked a little at the fault lines. I waited till he was lost in close inspection of a dryer vent blowing warm air outside the house to slip away.

I cried on the drive back to work, half out of sadness for feeling like I abandoned him, and half out of gratitude for the kindness of his new family. The collateral damage from knowing I have to sink or swim is starting to wear me down and build me up at the same time. I'm treading water like never before, and feel like someone punched me in the jaw. I white-knuckled the steering wheel and promised myself I'd get my farm and get him back. He was going to jump out of this car again, no question.

No one tells you this stuff when you buy goat care books at Borders.

I spent most of the day fretting about Finn. Worried he'd be too much for the alpacas, that they'd reject him from their small herd. Or worse, that he'd head butt a toddler or eat the house paint. But tonight when I checked my email I found this:

Hi Jenna :)

I just panicked b/c I couldn't find Finn outside. So Greg went out to look for him and we couldn't see him because he was wedged between two Alpaca Fleeces! Snug and cozy in the hot middle! Lucky little guy!

Abi

29 Comments:

Blogger Karl Micheal said...

I hope that you get your farm as quickly as possible. I know how it is to have to leave your family with others. It does sound like he is doing well though. Keep the faith Jenna. God bless. Karl

December 10, 2009 at 11:46 PM  
Blogger Debi said...

Oh I'm so glad to read this post, I was worried about you in that storm! Subaru's rock, glad it got you through it.

I'm so happy that Finn fit in so well in his temporary new home. I almost cried looking at him in the back of the car. I know how hard it is for you right now, but you will get your farm and then Finn will be home where he belongs. Stay strong, we're pulling for ya girl!

December 10, 2009 at 11:51 PM  
Blogger NeeCee said...

I am so sorry you had to give Finn up. I look forward to the day I can rejoice with you as you bring him back home to your own farm.

December 11, 2009 at 12:11 AM  
Blogger jenomnibus said...

It sounds like Finn is settling in to his temporary home nicely, and that the alpacas have taken him as their own. I'm glad y'all got there safely. Eyes on the prize, sistah!

December 11, 2009 at 1:01 AM  
Blogger granny said...

All's well ,that ends well :0)

December 11, 2009 at 2:18 AM  
Blogger Sparkless said...

What wonderful news that he has two new cuddly warm friends. I know he'll be back with you soon.

December 11, 2009 at 2:27 AM  
Blogger The pale observer said...

Great! Gotta love that hot middle. All the best, and don't fret - you are doing great things! :)

Holli in Ghana

December 11, 2009 at 5:55 AM  
Blogger tigress said...

that is great news that he is warm and comfortable! what more incentive can you ask for to drive you to get your farm? getting that lovely creature back on your own land! :)

December 11, 2009 at 7:17 AM  
Blogger The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

Hi Jenna,
Quite a day for you. Sorry, but I've been wiping away tears since those few moments in the parking lot after work. I know what it's like to have your "real" life just out out your reach, so I'm pulling for you!
Great news to find that Finn found some (warm) friends!
Best wishes

December 11, 2009 at 7:25 AM  
OpenID localnourishment said...

To build new bone after an injury, your body sends enzymes to break down the bone first. Then, very quickly, the bone starts growing layer upon layer until it is even stronger than before.

You will be stronger, more resilient and capable than you ever dreamed, but it will hurt for a while. For some of us, there is a danger of allowing bone to grow where heart should be for protection, but I don't see that in you. Knowing all the world lies in a moment is protection enough.

December 11, 2009 at 8:01 AM  
OpenID localnourishment said...

To build new bone after an injury, your body sends enzymes to break down the bone first. Then, very quickly, the bone starts growing layer upon layer until it is even stronger than before.

You will be stronger, more resilient and capable than you ever dreamed, but it will hurt for a while. For some of us, there is a danger of allowing bone to grow where heart should be for protection, but I don't see that in you. Knowing all the world lies in a moment is protection enough.

December 11, 2009 at 8:01 AM  
Blogger BJ Gingles said...

My heart broke along the fault lines too as I read about Finn trying to follow you to the car at Abi's. I have had to adopt out my animal family before due to a move and it broke my heart. Years later I still can barely allow myself to remember the confusion in the eyes of my dog as I left him at his new home. It hurts too badly. The good news for you is it is a temporary situation and Finn seems to have landed in a very good place.

Keep your focus on getting to see Finn jump from your car for the last time and it will arrive sooner than you know.

December 11, 2009 at 8:13 AM  
Blogger Mimi said...

Jenna--You and Finn have been on my mind a lot and when I read your post, I teared up and was sad but admired you so much for working this out. I could just picture you and Finn walking together and I remembered how you bottle fed him when he was so little. You have a wonderful way of knowing how to cherish the importance of moments in time. I know how much you love him and all your animals and I pray that your dream of your own farm will come very soon--what a great celebration that will be. Mimi

December 11, 2009 at 8:32 AM  
Blogger Abi said...

Oh, Jenna, I knew it. I knew there'd be tears. I am so sorry :( I know I am a broken record but he's here and you can be here any time you want or need, ok? We're happy to be hosting him here. He's settling in and Jorn has plans to walk him every evening and 'tuck him in'. He wants that to be his new evening chore. The only unfortunate thing is that he thinks he can swap out setting the table for walking Finn. I haven't broken the bad news to him yet ;)

Hang in there! As much as I can already tell we love having Finn as a yard guest, Greg and I can't wait to help you load him into your car en route to your farm :)

December 11, 2009 at 8:35 AM  
Blogger Thistledog said...

That was a great piece of writing, Jenna. Very descriptive of the emotions I feel, too, standing one foot in the mainstream world, the other in my farm world, waiting for the latter to finally become my mainstream.

Especially loved this: "...these days when the farm and my job melted into beautiful gasps of saturated instances like this."


Powerful stuff, that.

December 11, 2009 at 9:00 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

"No one tells you this stuff when you buy goat care books at Borders."

There is simply no greater truth about farm life than this.

December 11, 2009 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger daydreamer81 said...

I have read your blog from beginning to end, and now I keep up with it everyday, and I just sobbed for Finn, I know your heart is breaking, but I have faith that you will get your farm, and soon! If I had money I would send you some for sure!! Hang in there!!

December 11, 2009 at 9:45 AM  
Blogger Water Lily said...

What you need are WINTER tires (not all-seasons) and weight in the very back of your truck (like sand bags or something like that). I drove a 2WD Ranger for a number of years in a very snowy area and survived just fine by learning what situations not to get myself into (like getting head-first into a driveway with a downward slope or parking on a hill facing upward ~ do I have a story to tell on that one!!). It was my only vehicle, so I just fixed it up and drove carefully. But it worked!!!

December 11, 2009 at 9:52 AM  
Blogger Stacia said...

Jenna, you had me in tears at this post. I feel like we're walking right along side you in this journey of self-discovery and heartache. I wish we lived closer than California, we'd have you over for a cup of hot chocolate and some fiddle time to soothe the soul. Rob and I are praying for you and are pulling together your Christmas card as we speak. :)

December 11, 2009 at 10:29 AM  
Blogger Carrie in Wisconsin said...

Not only did the tears fall because its sad to know that it was hard for you to give Finn to his foster home, even if its just for a little while, but its the kindness of strangers. Abi, reading your story here generously offered up her place as a foster for Finn. THATS special stuff!

December 11, 2009 at 11:03 AM  
Blogger Sarah Sanders said...

I wiped tears as I rad this post - I'm feeling for you, Jenna! I look forward to the day that I can rejoice with you as you bring Finn back Home! Hang in there, Girl - there are great things in store for you!

December 11, 2009 at 11:44 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

I'm forcing back the tears as I read this. Finn is the baby of your family. Babies of the family always manage to find the warmest places to snuggle -- especially in our hearts. I love the image of him jumping out of your Subaru on your own farm. I'm keeping that picture in my heart for you.

December 11, 2009 at 2:51 PM  
OpenID thatsthelife said...

Aww jenna... this entry brought tears to my eyes. I can barely see the screen as I type.

Finn will be fine, and so will you.

December 11, 2009 at 4:12 PM  
OpenID thatsthelife said...

Oh, and you might have to get him a couple of alpacas for company when you bring him home again. :)

December 11, 2009 at 4:13 PM  
Blogger Tami SouthStreetShabby.blogspot.com said...

Jenna..sounds like Finn has a wonderful new home where his 'foster family' love him and will take good care of him until you can bring him back home.
Oh...and BTW...you need to put a couple of sand bags in the bed of your truck for weight. My Dad and brother do it every winter and it works!
Tami

December 11, 2009 at 5:41 PM  
Blogger Mary Lee said...

Abi's blog, SpiderWomanKnits, has some wonderful pictures of Finn and his new playmates. Jenna, looks like you found a great foster family for Finn until you get your farm in the spring. Hang in there!

December 11, 2009 at 8:38 PM  
Blogger j.c. said...

Finn looks like he's having a great time at Abi's. :) Those kids are going to spoil him rotten.

December 11, 2009 at 9:04 PM  
Blogger tigress said...

hi jenna,

i am sure you said this somewhere here before. but what kind of goat is finn?

December 12, 2009 at 10:50 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

He's a Toggenberg, an alpine/swiss breed of dairy goat.

December 12, 2009 at 11:21 AM  

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